“I realized I'd never climb Everest but thought I could still write a book.” – Sara Paretsky
Born in Iowa on this date in 1947, Paretsky grew up in Kansas. Despite an inclination toward writing from an early age – “I always wrote;” she said, “my first story was published in The American Girl when I was 11.” – she earned a degree in Political Science from the University of Kansas. But, the pull toward writing was too strong and at age 30 she took up the pen to write the novel Indemnity Only, creating a hard-boiled, crime-fighting female hero in the process.
Today, Paretsky’s protagonist V.I Warshawski is one of detective fiction’s best known. A Chicago-based private investigator, Warshawski has appeared in all but two of Paretsky’s 20 novels and also has been brought to life on the big screen by actress Kathleen Turner.
Paretsky helped transform the role and image of women in the crime novel genre’, earning Ms. Magazine’s “Woman of the Year” award, and the British Crime Writers Gold Dagger Award and Cartier Diamond Dagger Award for Lifetime Achievement. She also had an entire issue of Clues: A Journal of Detection devoted to her work. Beyond her novels, Paretsky has written half-dozen nonfiction books and two short story collections. Founder of Sisters in Crime, an organization that supports and promotes women in the mystery writing field, she has this simple advice for new writers: “Write what you care about.”
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